'You lose a son, gain a daughter'

By Brendan Manning, Sophie Ryan

Transgender model Amy Brosnahan with her dad Kim Dwyer during the Battle of the Babes held at the Juice Bar in Parnell. Photo / New Zealand Herald Photograph / Dean Purcell
Transgender model Amy Brosnahan with her dad Kim Dwyer during the Battle of the Babes held at the Juice Bar in Parnell. Photo / New Zealand Herald Photograph / Dean Purcell

The father of a transgender beauty pageant contestant says he lost a son but gained a daughter in accepting her.

Kim Dwyer said he was at first in denial when his son Bronson told him he wanted to be a girl, but he had since recognised his daughter Amy for who she was.

"Obviously that's her goal in life and I'm not one to have grudges or anything, I just want the family to be happy. That's what makes her happy, so obviously I'll support her."

Amy Brosnahan, 18, said having her father at the Battle of the Babes national final in Auckland last night was a big step in their relationship.

Mr Dwyer said he was attending the pageant with his fiance, another daughter and other family friends.

"She's got quite a bit of support actually. I'm just expecting to see what it's like out there. I'm not quite sure what to expect to tell the truth."

They had recently reconnected after falling out, he said.

"It's like, you lose a son and now you gain another daughter," Mr Dwyer said. "I'm OK with it now. I wasn't at the start obviously. I was in denial, to be fair."

He said he blamed Amy's mother at first and tried to force her to play sports to change her.

"I don't know much about transgenders so obviously I've learned a little bit in the last six months, that's for sure."

The support Amy had received from TransAdvocates was great, he said. "I didn't realise there was that much support out there.

"If you're not going to support them, they're going to get, I would say suicidal, to be fair," Mr Dwyer said.

Amy made it to the final of the beauty pageant after organisers backed down on their initial stance that she couldn't enter the competition when she revealed to them she was transgender.

She approached the Human Rights Commission about the situation, as well as Northland lawyer and member of TransAdvocates, Kelly Ellis. Soon afterwards, organisers relented.

She was in the top nine contestants and competed against 29 others in the national final last night at Juice Bar in Parnell.

Amy said she was excited about competing, but nervous.

"My dad and my stepmum are going to be there," she said. "My dad is going to see me in a bikini. That's sort of nerve-racking."

She said his presence in the audience was a big step for them.

"It's going to be a new stage in our relationship."

Amy told the Herald on Sunday that growing up she had a strained relationship with her family, but had recently been reconnecting with her parents and siblings.

The organiser of the Battle of the Babes, Andrew Featherstone, said Amy had earned her place in the final fairly.

"We didn't refer to the transgender thing at all. It was all about her performance and on her looks."

The winner of the competition was Hamilton girl Brittany Loran MacDonald beat 29 other finalists to win the New Zealand final of the competition last night.

Read: Hamilton beauty wins babes battle

- APNZ

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